It was the cat you wanted
After Judith Hansen’s “you’ve been so quiet”
Near the end, it was the cat you wanted near you most.
You wanted to feel its weight on your chest as you slept.
You always slept with your back rigid, afraid to stir
it awake and force it off you and to sleep on the floor.
The floor is no place for your companion, even with
the cat bed and toys for it down there. It had to stay with you tonight.
Tonight, you had a feeling this would be when
it finally ended, and the orange tabby was the only one left.
It was the only one left after the others decided to leave first, leaving
you to savor how it brushed against your legs or licked your fingertips.
It’s licking your fingertips now, wanting to join you on
your bed for one last night together. So you pulled it up.
You pulled it up and scratched its ears, thanking it, for
near the end, it was the cat you wanted near you most.
Alex Carrigan (he/him) is a Pushcart-nominated editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, VA. He is the author of Now Let’s Get Brunch: A Collection of RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter Poetry (Querencia Press, 2023) and May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). He has had fiction, poetry, and literary reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lambda Literary Review, Barrelhouse, Sage Cigarettes (Best of the Net Nominee, 2023), Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019), and more. For more, visit carriganak.wordpress.com or on Twitter @carriganak.